In 2015, there were 248 mass shootings in the United States. Training to take safety measures to survive terrorist attacks or civilian shootouts is now something that everyone needs to take seriously. It is important to make it a part of safety training, like fire drills and such.
Terrorist attacks and civilian shootings have taken place in schools, shopping malls, offices, movie theaters, and many other public places where large crowds of people gather. Many of these places – for example, airports – employ a large amount of security to prevent such attacks and other crimes. However, even within such incredibly secure locations, there are vulnerabilities. Surveillance is not adequate because one common attribute that terrorists and mass shooters share is a willingness to die.
How to Survive Terrorist Attacks/Civilian Shootouts
So how do you survive an attack or shooting? Here are a few tips that could help ensure that you do not get killed in a terrorist attack or mass shooting:
- Understand that it could happen anywhere: It may sound paranoid, but it is not. The fact is that a terrorist attack or mass shooting could happen anywhere. This is based on expert opinions, intelligence-gathering efforts, and common sense. There is a high likelihood that at some point, a coordinated Paris-type attack will take place at a school, sporting event, shopping mall, or other areas where people gather. Never assume that it will only happen in New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago. The ultimate goal of terrorists is to create fear, and what would be better than killing people at a school in the rural parts of Mississippi or a Montana shopping mall?
- Always know the location of exits: During any type of emergency, a lot of people lose their lives, mainly because they do not know where exits are located. Whenever you are in a public place where there are huge crowds, the first thing you should always do is find out the location of exits. This small act could be what saves your life in case of a terrorist attack or a mass shooting takes place.
- Always take decisive action: During an attack of any kind on the public in which you are a part of, the first action is to either flee or fight. This is just natural. You never just hang around, waiting for someone to instruct you or to try and get a better idea of what is taking place. This is the time to take initiative. You should either flee the area as soon as an opportunity presents itself or instantly attack a threat if possible and if you believe you can thwart that attack and either save your life or other lives. The old saying, “To ponder is to perish” is still true, so always keep that in mind.
- Be alert: It is important to make sure that you are alert to people and circumstances that are unusual. You do not have to stare at every person that passes you, but maintain a loose focus for suspicious individuals and activity patterns that are unusual within your surroundings. This is what is also known as “Maintaining Condition Yellow."
- Trust your instincts: If there is something that makes you uneasy or “feels” dangerous, you should trust your intuition. You might be wrong, but then again, you may have also picked up subtle environmental clues subconsciously – clues that you cannot quite put your finger on but nonetheless, are definitely real. At the very least, you should move to a safer position or relocate to an area that allows easy escape in case of an attack or shooting.
The objective of terrorist groups and mass shooters is to wreak death and destruction on the public. With preparation and planning, you can, as an individual citizen, prevent or shorten and effectively respond to an incident of mass killing and ultimately survive it.